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Gladiator, a new synthetic training facility for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) based at the Air Battlespace Training Centre at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, was inaugurated on 14 February 2023.

The new facility will complement combat training in a live environment, build live training exercises in a virtual world, and support complex training scenarios, both simultaneously and independently of each other.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the UK’s chief of the air staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said, “Gladiator will enable our forces to trial, test, and practise their tactics in a secure environment, linked across all operational domains. It is an invaluable training tool for the next generation of warfighters across air, space, land, cyber and sea.”

A ‘team photo’ taken at the inauguration of the RAF’s new Gladiator synthetic training facility at RAF Waddington on 14 February 2023. (Photo: Crown Copyright)

Boeing Defence UK was selected to provide the Gladiator facility under a seven-year, GBP 36 M (EUR 40.85 M) contract in May 2019.

“Gladiator represents a step-change in capability for the UK, allowing crews and ground forces from all three services, along with the UK’s allies and partners, to train in a secure and seamless virtual environment,” said Steve Burnell, Boeing Defence UK’s managing director, at the inauguration. “In partnership with our UK technology suppliers, we have delivered an open-source solution that meets the RAF’s current and future training needs.”

Peter Felstead